How to Be a Person of Light
November 26, 2006
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
2 Samuel 23: 1-5
The Last Words of David
Now these are the last words of David.
Thus says David the son of Jesse;
Thus says the man raised up on high,
The anointed of the God of Jacob,
And the sweet psalmist of Israel:
2 “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by
And His word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me:
‘He who rules over men must be
Ruling in the fear of God.
4 And he shall be like the light of
the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
Like the tender grass springing out of the earth,
By clear shining after rain.’
“ Although my house is not so with God,
Yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant,
Ordered in all things and secure.
For this is all my salvation and all my desire;
Will He not make it increase?”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning. Our topic this morning is “How to Be a Person of Light.”
A Christian should be different. A Christian should be different from the rest of the world. There should be something about a Christian that is remarkable, that just isn’t quite the same. I think there should be a glow from a Christian that makes him somehow different in a positive way from everybody else. Don’t you agree?
In the Great Auditorium at Ocean Grove, there are big words printed on either side of the central cross. The words say, “Holiness unto the Lord” on one side, and “So be ye holy” on the other. What does that mean? Holiness simply means specialness – remarkable, divine specialness. So we could translate the words in the Great Auditorium as “God is special” and “So are you.” Live it. Accept it. Believe it.
You are a Christian. You have invited Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. You are born again. But it doesn’t stop there. Let His light shine from you, through you. Let’s be people of light.
My wonderful secretary Jill gave me a beautiful present this Thanksgiving. She gave me a statue of a Thanksgiving angel. I have it on my table in the dining room. There is remarkable light that comes through my dining room window on a clear morning near dawn. I was looking at the statue early one morning, and the dawning light came through the window and was shining on the side of the face of this angel with folded hands. She had a remarkable glow. And I thought, shouldn’t Christians be like that? Shouldn’t there be a glow from a Christian? Sure there should! Let’s talk about it. How can we get that glow? How can we be people of light?
First of all, let’s ground this in scripture. Look at the first phrase from today’s lesson in 2 Samuel. “These are the last words of David.” What is so significant about that? Well, last words are very significant, especially if David is saying, “This is it. These are the last words I’m going to say before I go to the Lord. I am serious! Here’s where I take my stand.”
Now, on to verse 2. “The spirit of the Lord speaks through me. His word is upon my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken. The Rock of Israel has said to me, ‘One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.’ Is not my house like this with God? For He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will He not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?” The last words of David.
You see, David had a hard life. David went through some terrible things. And David did some pretty bad things. But in these last words, where he tells us what he wants to be remembered for, he didn’t look back at those things. He said, “My sins are forgiven by God. I’m not going to waste time with regrets. I’m going to tell it like it is. I’m going to tell how I feel about myself and God.” And he says, “The one who rules over people justly” – who deals with people justly – that could be for you and me– “dealing in the fear of God” – that means the respect of God – “is like the sun rising, like a cloudless morning, gleaming from rain on the grassy land. This is what my house is like with God.” In other words, this is what my life is like with God. This is how we need to be with God.
We need to be people of light! You know what? A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms. A despondent Christian is a contradiction in terms. You’ve got Christ! You’ve got God! God believes in you; you believe in Him. Let your light shine. There should be a joy in our lives. Yes, we have hard times. Yes, we have difficulties. Yes, we have responsibilities. But through it all, if we’ve learned to trust in Jesus, there should be a light that shines in us. Let’s be people of light.
How can we do it? First of all, I invite you to remember the acronym C-A-R. Connect, Accept, and Reflect. The first thing to do, if we want to be people of light, is to connect. I’ll bet a whole bunch of you already have your Christmas lights up, right? I don’t have mine up yet; that’s on the list. Maybe it’s on yours, too. Anyway, when we go to put up the Christmas lights, we’re going to try them out first, right? Plug them in, and if they’re working, they’ll all light up, even to the last bulb. But they won’t light up if we don’t plug them in! Connect! Remember who you’re connected to. You and I can be people of light, not because of our own isolated being, but because we’re connected to Jesus. If we are isolated beings, we’re going to think about our troubles and our responsibilities, and we’re going to get lost in our guilt. But if you remember that you’re connected to God, you can have a smile on your face and a glow in your heart.
Remember who you’re connected to! You are connected to the source of all light. You are connected to the Lord Himself. And that in itself is reason to rejoice. Remember who you’re connected to. David remembered that, didn’t he?
Second, accept the fact that you are a person of light. Oh, friend, it’s so tempting by the world’s standards to put ourselves down, to think negative thoughts. One of my heroes is the Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes. In a conversation with him, he said to me, “Oh, my friend, we’re both pastors, and we know that there’s a lot of ‘putting down’ in this world. But you and I, we have to go to our congregations and build them up. Don’t you think we should do that?”
And I said, “Yes, sir, I certainly think we should.”
Accept the fact that you are a creation of light. The One who cast a billion stars into space created you. In all the billions of years that have ever existed, there has only ever been one you. And this day that you are living is unlike any other day that ever has been or ever will be. Doesn’t that make it precious and special? You are a person of light. Rise to it. Live it. It’s who you are.
I love the words of a child in an inner-city school who said, “I know I’m special, and I know I’m okay, ‘cause God don’t make junk.” Isn’t that the truth? God makes wonderful things. He made the stars, and He made earth, and He made you. And you are special. Accept it. You are a person of light, made by the Creator of Light.
Third, friend, reflect it. “Let your light shine,” said Jesus. Be a witness for Him. Let what you do, all of your works, be something special for Him. When people look at you, let them see the light of God shining through. You never know where the brightness of your light will end, even in the simplest ways.
Once upon a time, there was a Sunday School teacher named Mrs. Rapp. She had rosy cheeks on white skin, and silver grey hair, and sparkling blue eyes, and she took time to pay attention to and talk to a little Catholic boy. She said to him, “You know, young man, you can reach up toward heaven as far as you can, and God will reach down the rest of the way.” There was something about her that was intriguing to him. She had a joy in God that he wished he could have. She had a kindness about her that he just loved. He never forgot her.
That was almost a half-century ago. Mrs. Rapp has gone to be with the Lord now. I wonder if she had any idea that her simple kindness and the light that she shed upon the earth and the time she took with that little Catholic boy would result in that boy, nearly half a century later, bearing witness to Christ in front of a great Methodist congregation. I wonder if she knew.
Well, it doesn’t matter. She knew that she should let her light shine. And even though she’s gone to be with the Lord, isn’t it true that her light still shines? Wouldn’t you like to be like that? Wouldn’t I? Of course we would.
Know who you’re connected to. Accept that God created a treasure when He created you. And friend, let your light shine. Let your light shine, so that when people see you, they see the brightness of God in your eyes. And your life will have a fullness and a richness and a meaning that can’t be compared with anything else. May it be so for you, because God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2007 Anthony J. Godlefski